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Thread: How Medicare For All Could Become the Leading Cause of Death In America

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    How Medicare For All Could Become the Leading Cause of Death In America

    The top three leading causes of death in the US are heart disease (614,348), cancer (591,699), and seeking medical treatment. Yes, you read that correctly. According to a 2016 study by Johns Hopkins, medical errors contribute to the deaths of more than 250,000 Americans annually, which places it as the third leading cause of death in the US.


    Other estimates have actually placed those numbers even higher at around 440,000 annual deaths because errors by health care providers are not included on death certificates.


    Our current health care system is based on a fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursement model that rewards doctors for providing more treatments than necessary because payment is dependent on the quantity, not quality, of care.


    Each time you visit the doctor’s office, consult a specialist, or stay in a hospital, you pay for every single test, treatment, or procedure, even though some of these services may be unnecessary.


    These unnecessary tests and treatments have accounted for $200 billion annually and have been found to actually harm patients. That’s because the FFS system is volume-based, not necessarily value-based. Therefore, any increases in the volume of care equal increases in medical errors.


    Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) contribute to the deaths of nearly 100,000 people annually, leaving almost two million of the total afflicted population requiring treatments that cost over $25 billion a year. These costs could be passed along to taxpayers under Medicare for All, instead of private insurers and employers, as they are now.


    Preventable Deaths and Proper Procedures


    Take one HAI, for example: central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), which occur when germs enter the bloodstream from a catheter (tube) that health care providers insert in the veins (neck, chest, or groin) of patients to supply them with medication or fluids or to collect blood.


    According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, CLABSIs may cause an “estimated 80,000 catheter-related bloodstream infections and, as a result, up to 28,000 deaths among patients in intensive care units (ICUs).” These deaths often occur after patients have spent a significant amount of time and money in the hospital.


    The CDC admits the infections are preventable, yet ICUs still experience high numbers of them. A 2003 study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins revealed that hospitals can eliminate CLABSIs entirely and very cheaply simply by requiring physicians and hospital staff to follow a five-step checklistwhen inserting central lines, which include obvious sterilization and precautionary measures.


    The researchers tested the checklist at 103 ICUs in Michigan and published their findings a few years later. They found the rate of CLABSIs fell by two-thirds while saving over 1,500 lives and $200 million.


    The simple explanation for most medical mistakes is human error; in CLABSIs’ case, neglecting simple precautionary measures. The problem is hospitals have no incentive to change the issue because they generate more money from treating infections than preventing them.


    It’s evident that iatrogenic events caused by medical oversights or mistakes spur higher health care consumption. An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that issues with quality in outpatient care and medical errors exclusively caused “116 million extra physician visits, 77 million extra prescriptions, 17 million emergency department visits, 8 million hospitalizations, 3 million long-term admissions, 199,000 additional deaths.”


    Patients from HAIs spend, on average, an additional 6.5 days in the hospital and are five times more likely to be readmitted and twice as likely to die, while surgical infections add another $10 billion in annual costs.


    If third-party payers (insurance companies, government, employers) weren’t obscuring the true cost of health care by covering patients’ medical bills, patients would be less likely to permit hospitals to give them highly profitable, easily preventable infections.


    continued:
    https://www.dcclothesline.com/2019/0...th-in-america/

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    Big Dummy (01-10-2019)

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    An apple a day, will keep the Dr. away. Still sound advice to eat well and never go to the Dr. unless you are dying.
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    Freewill's Avatar
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    I guess the argument being put forward is that if those without healthcare insurance now are covered it will mean more deaths due to over treatment?

    I don't think so, it would just be a statistical curiosity. My brother in law seems to be receiving good healthcare and he is on medicare if not Medicaid, probably both. He never took care of himself, in my opinion, and his diabetes is now caught up with him and he is losing parts of his body. Now, imagine if he had no healthcare insurance.

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